• Social Distortion

    When we read a mediocre book, we don’t usually tell anyone about it. The same is true of our hospitality experiences. It takes an exceptional experience to motivate sharing. So opinions shared through social media and online review sites are often extreme points of view, and they don’t represent the complete spectrum of experience. Sadly, it seems like negative experiences are the ones people are more likely to share.

    We compared TripAdvisor reviews against guest surveys for the same properties during the same time period and saw radically different pictures. The TripAdvisor data showed nearly three times more negative (1- and 2-star ratings) responses, while 5-star ratings were understated by 35%.1

    This disproportionate view of your business could mean millions of dollars spent to solve problems that aren’t having a significant impact on your business. Likewise, sources of value, the things most likely to attract guests and gain their loyalty, could go unnoticed.

    The best way to get a clear picture of your performance is to be sure you hear from all your guests, not just the ones who had an experience they thought everyone should hear about. Direct guest surveys let you hear it all, both the extraordinary and the ordinary.

    To learn more about the ways social media can steer you wrong, read our paper, For Hospitality, Social Media is Too Little Too Late.

    1Market Metrix and TripAdvisor guest reviews from 500 hotels between October 2011 and September 2012.

Mike Waite is executive VP of marketing, client development and product with Market Metrix.

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